ADVERTORIAL • February 2024

Seven things you might not know about Gibraltar

A little corner of Britain in the sunny Mediterranean isn’t the only USP Gibraltar has up its sleeve – it’s also the custodian of unexpected historical, cultural and gastronomical treasures. Here, on a quest to reveal some of the Rock’s most enticing secrets, we leave no stone unturned 

Its caves are UNESCO-recognised

Thank your ancestors for the extraordinary discoveries inside Gorham’s Cave Complex: four sea caves gnarled into steep limestone cliffs on its eastern coast, which show proof of Neanderthal life. Inside, rock engravings are noteworthy for both their rarity and age – a mind-bending 39,000 years old – making Gibraltar a rich archaeological time capsule into early man’s evolution. That’s not all. In 2019, it was revealed that fragments of a Gorgoneion had been found. This ceramic representation of Medusa’s head links the site to Greek mythology – and even the possibility that the cave was home to the snake-haired sister herself. Let your imagination run wild on the purpose-built viewing platform, which gazes over the whole UNESCO World Heritage Site and offers video commentary by specialists. 


There’s VAT-free shopping

Gibraltar’s retail scene boasts an extremely purse-pleasing attribute – it’s free of VAT, which means bargains are here to be had. Direct your wallet to Main Street, a pedestrianised hub that runs the length of the city centre and combines high street mainstays, independent boutiques and stores (with many names you’ll recognise from back in Blighty). Fragrances, cosmetics and spirits offer the best in the way of deals, alongside well-priced crystal and porcelain, local handicrafts and jewellery. 


The currency feels familiar

Don’t let the acronym GIP thrown you off. Gibraltar also uses pounds sterling, making it one of the most effortless overseas destinations to travel to for UK holidaymakers. All British notes and coins issued by the Bank of England are legal tender in Gibraltar, and the value is exactly the same (even though the currencies look intriguingly different). No queueing up at the currency exchange for you.


There’s an outstanding literary scene

The tenth anniversary of the Gibunco Gibraltar International Literary Festival falls in 2024. This internationally renowned event attracts English language novelists, historians, biographers, illustrators and public figures to the island every November. Festival patron, HRH Anne, Princess Royal, is a regular attendee, while last year’s edition welcomed Dame Mary Berry and Lady Theresa May as headline speakers, as well as children’s author Ann Bryant and Horrible Histories illustrator Martin Brown. Just make sure to book your hotel as soon as possible to avoid missing out.


You can speak like a local

Forget panic-swotting Duolingo in Departures. English is Gibraltar’s official language and is seen on signs and street names, used by the government, taught in schools and overheard in the street. But if you do hear a curious language that you just can’t place, it’s likely Llanito – a unique Gibraltarian dialect that’s a fascinating hybrid of English and Andalucian Spanish, interlaced with mediaeval Genoese, Hebrew, Maltese and Portuguese. 


It has a British-run lighthouse

At Europa Point, the most southerly tip of Gibraltar where the Atlantic meets the Mediterranean, an honorary Brit is on hand to steer vessels away from the dangerous Pearl Rock formation. That Brit would be Trinity lighthouse – so called because it’s the only lighthouse outside the UK to be regulated by Trinity House, a British seafaring institution. Inaugurated in 1841, the picture-perfect watchtower stands 160 feet above sea level and projects light over 20 miles – in other words, well worth a visit. 


Its gastronomy is global

The breadth of Gibraltar’s culinary offering is highlighted every summer in the Calentita food festival, when town squares fill with aromatic stalls that bring tastes as diverse as Moroccan, Argentinian and Asian, alongside home-cooked Gibraltarian dishes. This eclectic mix can also be found in the many excellent restaurants, such as tapas at La Tapilla Sixtina (known for its charcuterie, octopus and grilled ibérico pork), impressive Indian food at Little Bay Bar & Restaurant, and knockout bagels from Amar’s Kosher Bakery & Restaurant.

La Tapilla De Sixtina

All holidays with British Airways Holidays are ATOL protected and come with 23kg baggage allowance per person and a 24-hour holiday helpline. Secure your Gibraltar holiday now with a low deposit at and enjoy flexible payments until you fly.*

*Full balance due four weeks before departure for short-haul holidays and seven weeks before departure for long-haul holidays. Subject to availability. T&Cs apply. See

This article has been tagged Advertorial, Destination